Everything you need to know about downsizing

Senior couple moving boxes in trunk of car

When we think of the property ladder, we tend to think of people climbing up it.

It’s about trading in a smaller home for a bigger, better, brighter one. It’s about using equity from one home to secure a more expensive one.

After all, bricks and mortar are a good investment for the future.

But for other sellers it’s all about decreasing, not increasing, square footage.

It’s about trading in the four-bed detached villa for a bijou bungalow, cottage on the coast or city slicker apartment.

The number one reason for downsizing is grown-up children leaving a family home. Empty nesters no longer need all those bedrooms and can feel they’re rattling around in a larger property.

Many are keen to settle into a forever home where they can enjoy growing old.

Practical issues are a factor as well. Steep staircases and high-maintenance gardens may be fine now, but can seem like Everest and the Amazon rainforest in the future.

Others reasons for downsizing can be a decrease in income, which means a more affordable property is needed.

For others, particularly those about to enjoy retirement, it’s a lifestyle choice. By exchanging large for small, pensioners can release equity and use it to pursue their passions – such as ballroom dancing or bungee jumping.

Whatever the reason, there are some important questions to consider before downsizing your life.

How small should I go?

This is a balancing act between a desire for less space and a need to spend equity wisely. If you downsize too far, for example, you may find yourself in a market filled with eager first-time buyers.

So, unless you want the profits of a sale swallowed up in a bidding war, work out before starting your property search with s1homes, just what you want and how much you’re prepared to pay.

Where to?

Don’t bet on a postcode lottery if you cherish visits from friends and family – a more affordable area can be tempting, but factors such as easy access to transport links can impact on your social life.

Also worth researching is the distance to shops, social outlets and the GP’s surgery.

What about my stuff?

Downsizing means less room for lifelong belongings. By listing all your possessions you get a clearer picture of how much stuff you actually have. Vow to bring with you only those things used in the past six months (clue – not the chocolate fondue set) or of great sentimental value.

What will I do with what’s left?

Think about an auction if you’ve big ticket items to get rid of. Otherwise a good online marketplace or second-hand dealer can relieve you of furniture or bric-a-brac.

You can also give items away on websites. Alternatively, your local charity shop will happily collect them.

Now comes the exciting bit: discovering the huge variety of smaller properties for sale on s1homes.

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